On Tuesday, December 18, approximately 60 vehicles crashed on the I-5 in California, south of the border with Oregon.
The highway was shut down in both directions at North Yreka, KRCRTV writes. According to the CHP, 60 cars crashed in Siskiyou County, between Yreka and Hornbrook.
Cal Fire notes that motorists were stranded on a two-mile (3.2 km) stretch of the interstate, north of Sacramento, while the National Weather Service announced heavy snow in the area, making the situation even more difficult.
7 people were transported to the hospital, with minor or moderate injuries. As of yet, there are no reports of fatal or serious injuries.
CBS Sacramento informs that the cars started slipping on a stretch of icy road because of difficult weather conditions. Fog and freezing temperatures were reported in the crash zone, with only 21 ⁰F (-6 ⁰C) being registered in Yreka at 9:30 p.m. Witnesses have described the road on the I-5 as covered with “black ice.”
The first reports came in at 6:18 p.m., and were posted on California Highway Patrol’s incident website. The vehicle that started the series of crashes was a semi-truck, whose driver appears to have lost control of the car after skidding on ice and then crashed into a concrete wall.
A witness, who made it through before traffic was stopped, describes she heard the semi-truck crashing, and saw the cars behind it also coming to a halt, and immediately called 911 from the nearest refuge.
Emergency vehicles have been granted access to the crash zone, with the southbound side of the interstate closed until the pile-up is cleared. We will keep you informed as the situation evolves.
A shelter has been set up at the Siskiyous County Fairgrounds in Yreka by the Red Cross, with buses made available for transportation. However, it closed by 10.30 a.m. today, as insurance companies handled housing, and no one was sheltered there.